Lawrence: A New Times Embarrassment
Who is Jim Mullin to blast David Lawrence's efficiency and business savvy ("Nice Guy, Wrong Job," January 21) when it takes Mullin three pages to write what I could have written in one? Aren't pages the equivalent of money in the news business?

Mullin uses powerful words like "embarrassing inarticulateness," "fawning adulation," and "pitiful retrenchment," but still says nothing. The only thing embarrassing here is New Times's imprimatur. Mullin harps on the need for "attack dogs" to be "turned loose on a community in which cronyism, graft, and corruption were deeply entrenched," but what is more corrupt or insincere than being a mere peddler of words with the intent to impress?

Is Mullin trying to convince us that the only way to succeed in the news business is to resort to the kind of McCarthyism to which President Clinton has recently been subjected? Is generosity in the news business necessarily incompatible with making money? Mullin goes so far as to blame Miami's "rampant corruption" on a "soporific" Herald under Lawrence's leadership.

I guess coming from New Times, which happens to be a competitor of the Herald, this is not a biased statement: "Watching the Miami Herald shrivel under Dave Lawrence's inept stewardship has given me no pleasure." Please spare us, Mr. Mullin. I guess the next step will be to blame the Herald's pro-Clinton position for the president's high approval ratings.

Is this the same Dave Lawrence who permitted a New Times dispenser to be kept directly in front of the Herald building? I guess he's useful for some things, huh? Well let me tell you, Mr. Mullin, although I am no expert, I know there are at least three things that sell newspapers today: war, smut, and cutthroat dealing. Dave Lawrence refused to engage in any of these.

I happen to think that New Times is doing our community a service. But there is a time to tear down and a time to build up, and our community could sure use some building up. Next time, Mr. Mullin, try limiting your hortatory writing to about a page and a half, and also try saying something positive, for crying out loud!

Manny Losada

Lawrence: Animosity Born of Vengeance?
I'm very interested in seeing more specific examples of Jim Mullin's references to Dave Lawrence's "embarrassing inarticulateness" and how Lawrence "badly flubbed it as a publishing executive." I'm not some Herald mole or personal friend of Dave Lawrence. I am, however, an avid reader of both the Miami Herald and New Times, and I really try to respect everyone's written opinion.

It just seems to me that maybe Mr. Mullin and other New Times writers (Jim DeFede for one) harbor some sort of resentment or other unarticulated feelings toward Mr. Lawrence and/or the Herald. Maybe the Herald didn't hire Mr. Mullin or Mr. DeFede. Don't take that as a shot. I'm just trying to rationalize the apparent animosity toward this man and this newspaper.

I would very much like to hear more from Mr. Mullin on this subject as I'm sure there is more he'd like to say. Please fill me in.

Rob Alexander

Lawrence: Not Such a Nice Guy After All
"Nice Guy, Wrong Job" was excellent and something that needed to be said. Congratulations to Jim Mullin and New Times for having the courage to write and print stories that otherwise would go untold.

Dave Lawrence appears to have sacrificed honor and integrity in his job at the Miami Herald in order to appear compassionate to the community -- a very suspect judgment in my opinion. What we know as readers during Mr. Lawrence's reign is that there was never the undiluted search for truth this community needed. As a result we are left wondering why; was it Mr. Lawrence's ineptness or were others within the news organization or in the business community telling him what his newspapers should or should not be investigating?

Serious journalism needs stewards who are not afraid to print ugly stories about business or political titans who may be just as corrupt as the lowly scam artist who lacks the financial resources to hire fancy attorneys and cannot pick up the phone and call the powerful. Perhaps Mr. Lawrence's true legacy is that he wasn't such a nice guy after all.

Benjamin G. Rae III

Lawrence: He Got Off Easy
Jim Mullin's story on Dave Lawrence was so good that I felt the need to write. One of Lawrence's friends whom Mr. Mullin didn't mention was Steve Clark. Living in Miami, I have had a chance to see Steve and his lobbyists up close.

Anyway I figured Mr. Mullin used a little professional courtesy to be gentle with Mr. Lawrence. Nice job. Keep it up!

John A. Brennan

Lawrence: A Bad Mix
I am writing in response to Jim Mullin's detailed and accurate account of the trials and tribulations of recently retired Miami Herald publisher Dave Lawrence.

Mr. Lawrence seemed to mix the business of publishing news with his role as a goodwill ambassador. Judging from Mr. Mullin's account, it seems those roles were diametrically opposed and mixing them was a big mistake.

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